Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Magic Words

So, as amazing as the Smithsonian Museums are, there's something that can trump it every time, at least as far as my niece is concerned. Two words: water park.

Yep, we camped at Bull Run State Park while we were in the DC area and there is a water park there called Atlantis. It's not even an especially impressive water park, though not at all bad. However, Atlantis was the one that was at hand and was a place of fascination for Kayley and her friend Meg the entire time we were there. This is possibly because they didn't get to visit it for two days after we arrived, so their anticipation had plenty of time to build. More likely, though, they were pretty jazzed about it from before our arrival. Sure, Kayley and my wife had plotted out our museum and zoo visitation schedule days in advance and had everything mapped out as to where and when we were doing stuff, but I'm pretty sure WATER PARK were the giant red glowing words that shone through the pages and plans.

Our first day was dedicated to journeying to the Baltimore Zoo. We got a very unfortunate late start, however, due to having to show the girls how to clean up the campsite before departing and by the time we arrived it was 2p, giving us exactly 2 hours to see the entire zoo before it closed at 4. They seemed to enjoy it well enough, though the kids were quite hungry by the end of it. As we climbed into the car shortly after 4 to go find some dinner, Kayley said, "We should have gone to the water park." This instantly infuriated me, but I let it pass, filing her words away as the complaint of a starving child.

The following day, we journeyed by Metro to the National Mall where we visited the National Space and Native American museums, in that order. Mid-way through the National Space Museum, my wife made an unfortunate inquiry to me regarding the hours of the water park--unfortunate because the words were picked up by young ears and their fun radar instantly lost all other echoes. And from the sudden shift in her expression I could tell that Kayley was gearing up for a calculated burst of forced boredom designed to hurry our departure. I glowered at my wife for stirring up this pot. Sure enough, within two minutes the complaints about wanting to leave began and I was having none of it. I called the girls over to a wall out of the way of the bustling crowds and told them that their aunt had merely been asking about the hours of the park as a point of information which was not necessarily going to prove fruitful as it pertained to our immediate day. We would indeed let them go to the waterpark should we return to the campground with enough hours remaining in the park's day to allow them to swim and remain economical for us, but we would in no uncertain terms be leaving early to try and make this happen. We were there to see the museums, which is what Kayley had said she wanted to do in the first place, and see them we would. Any time spent at the water park would merely be a bonus. Furthermore, I did not want to hear them utter the words "water" or "park" for the remainder of our afternoon. I expected they would be unable to abide by this and I fully intended to revoke any water park activities for the day as punishment for their infraction, but having been through a week of our School of Consequences method of aunting and uncling I think Kayley knew this was unwise and she and Meg refrained from bringing it up.

We didn't return to camp in time to do the water park that day, mostly because of traffic delays, but the following afternoon we made sure to leave for our visit to the National History museum early and returned home with a couple of hours left for water park time, so all was well. And before our departure time on Wedesday, we sent em back for another couple of hours and even went along ourselves.

Much to my disappointment, I found that I either A) own a swim-suit that has too much friction, or B) am too fat to properly slide down the tube slide at a decent rate of speed. I tried twice, both times hurling myself in the opening so as to get the maximum amount of momentum only to find that about mid-way down the enclosed tube I was practically having to push myself along just to remain in motion. And by the time I reached the end, I emerged with more of a plop than a splash, moving slowly enough that I could practically read the look of pity on the lifeguard's face. It was extremely embarassing.

No comments: